If you suspect fraudulent activity on any of your BECU accounts — or believe you're a victim of identity theft — contact us right away.
Identity Theft: What Is It?
Identity theft occurs when a criminal steals someone's personal information and uses it to take their money, open credit accounts, file tax returns, make health insurance claims and more without the victim's permission.
How Does Identity Theft Happen?
Criminals can obtain personal data in a variety of ways, including physical theft (e.g., stealing your wallet or backpack), public information and data breaches. Once a thief has a way “in”, they can access personal information like usernames and passwords, Social Security number, addresses and even payment details.
Recognize Signs of Identity Theft
- Unauthorized account activity.
- Bills for services you didn't use or sign up for.
- Medical/insurance benefits that have been maxed out.
- Credit report errors.
- Newly issued cards you didn't request or apply for.
- Collections, debt you don't recognize.
- Having a credit application denied when you expected it to be approved.
- Interrupted statements, missing mail.
- Notifications from the IRS or Social Security Administration indicating errors, or showing info you don't recognize (e.g., earnings, employers, etc.).
- An unexpected warrant if someone impersonated you and committed a crime.
8 Ways To Protect Your Personal Information
- Shred bills, statements, credit card offers, and other financial papers that have account numbers, names and addresses associated with them. Consider choosing estatements for your financial accounts.
- Enable multi-factor authentication (MFA). MFA requires a password and at least one other identifying factor to log in—such as a fingerprint, or entering a code from a text, email, or authentication app. It can stop most hackers from using stolen passwords. Don't click suspicious links. If you receive a strange link, always think twice before clicking it.
- Change passwords often. Create and use strong and unique passwords. Consider using a password management service like 1Password or LastPass to ensure it is encrypted and your password is unbreakable. Learn more.
- Don't distribute personal information. Be careful with how you send personal information over text and email.
- Wipe your data from computers and phones. Destroy any information stored on old computers and mobile devices before you sell or recycle them by performing a factory reset or removing and destroying storage drives and devices. Simply deleting files does not permanently remove them from the hard drive. Learn more.
- Don't use public Wi-Fi or hotspots. They're not secure. Assume anything you do on public Wi-Fi is visible to the world.
- Turn off Bluetooth when not in use, so a thief can't link to your device.
- Don't trust caller ID. It can be spoofed to display whatever bogus information criminals want. It's a sneaky way to make you believe the call is legit. Learn more.
5 Steps To Take Immediately if Your Identity Is Stolen
- Notify any affected financial institutions. As soon as you suspect one of your accounts may have been compromised, contact the financial institution(s) immediately. Quick action may save you from being liable for any unauthorized charges.
- File a police report. Provide police with a list of all compromised accounts and any supporting documents you can. Also, consider reporting the crime to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and give a copy of that report to the police.
- Flag your credit report. Call the three credit reporting agencies and request that a fraud alert be placed on your credit file. It helps ensure thieves can't open any fraudulent accounts in your name.
Recovering from identity theft takes time. Continue checking your accounts and monitoring your credit report. And most importantly, be patient. If you need help or have questions, the BECU member services team is here for you.